BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Starting Saturday, voters in Buffalo will get to give the candidates a piece of their mind, in the mayor’s race. Early voting starts across New York, but one of the most bizarre political races ever is closing in on the finish line.

When the voting starts Saturday, it will be the first time in New York, an incumbent mayor has had to fight for re-election as a write-in candidate. The race, pitting a Democratic incumbent against a Democratic Socialist challenger, is grabbing national headlines.

Democratic Socialist India Walton, the nominee for the Democratic Party is getting endorsements from other Progressives on a national scale, including Congress member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who is coming to town Saturday to back up her endorsement.

The most powerful figure in the United States Senate, Chuck Schumer, is also endorsing Walton.

“That is quite the endorsement. We don’t often see the senator come out and support folks, but I think as is his tradition and his stance on supporting Democratic nominees, of which I am, I am very happy to have the support of the senator,” Walton said.

Mayor Brown is leaving it up to the voters.

Common Councilman Rasheed Wyatt just announced his endorsement of Walton and was joined by Assemblyman Jon Rivera who announced his support earlier in the campaign. But a number of high-profile Democrats are refusing to take sides, including Governor Kathy Hochul, and the Democrats’ state chairman.

Still, Walton held up a mailer sent out by Republicans and suspects Brown is drawing growing support from non-Democrats.

“It has a few points that they are trying to make about the current administration that also are not necessarily true. But I think it just speaks to who is behind the Byron Brown write-in campaign, and it is not the Democratic Party,” Walton said.

Mayor Brown counters, it is no longer a primary, it is the general election.

“Over 155,000 people eligible to vote in the General Election. I am appealing to each and every one of them as the best candidate to continue our progress and to protect the future of our city,” said Brown.

We got news of a second debate. They are holding it at Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Wednesday morning.

Three candidates are on the docket, India Walton, Mayor Brown and another write-in hopeful, attorney Benjamin Carlisle.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.

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